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Sal

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    parent of dance student
  • City**
    San Anselmo, CA

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  1. I do, too, but how long will she have to wait -- too long?
  2. San Francisco Ballet would be a great company for Brandt and/or Lane -- SFB does all of the classics, plus lots of new works, plus Balanchine, plus they dance a lot. Great company, great city!
  3. I think what Brandt is experiencing at ABT is what a lot of dancers experience during their careers. It's a subjective art and ADs are super subjective -- sometimes a dancer is going to be in favor and sometimes, or for some dancers, most times, they're not going to be the favorite, ever. I think Brandt shows a lot of character and grit by going after a role she wants and one that she thinks she can do well. More power to her! I hope her performance goes so well that she gets more Giselle performances in the future. She's taking an active role in her professional and artistic growth and not passively sitting back waiting for the powers that be to grant her opportunities. So many dancers end their careers deeply frustrated and resentful because they feel they didn't achieve their potential or weren't recognized for what they have to offer. No matter what, at least Brandt will know she stood up for herself.
  4. Yes, Zimmi has the bright red hair.
  5. I agree with many of the comments regarding Saturday evening's T&V. I was sitting very close and Lane seemed quite nervous and defeated throughout the performance. It was really sad to witness. Her technique is gorgeous and she is such a beautiful dancer, but T&V is such a difficult role for a ballerina and to pair her with a partner not up to the task is unforgivable. As others have noted, Gorak has beautiful lines and feet, but his partnering is so, so weak -- no wonder Lane seemed nervous -- who wouldn't be!? He barely got her on his shoulder at the end (she really wasn't all the way up) and then he was literally holding on for dear life as the curtain closed. I didn't mind the Tharp piece -- loved the music and Cornejo is always thrilling. I did not like the costumes at all. They look like something a high school dance troupe would pull together from old halloween costumes found in the back of their closets and the Goodwill. Just ugh. I loved Seasons but felt it was too long. Hurlin's whirling-dervish entrance in the Winter section was a real crowd-pleaser. What a force of nature she is! Zimmi Coker is a star in the making. I remember noticing her in the corps last year and was not surprised she had two featured roles last night. She has a beautiful, light, expansive quality and seemed very confident and entirely comfortable in everything she danced. She's definitely one to watch.
  6. Saw Jewels this afternoon. Phelan was absolutely gorgeous in Emeralds -- lush, lyrical, musical -- there was an otherworldly quality to her dancing. Hyltin was, in my opinion, absolute perfection in Rubies. Her dancing transcended ballet technique and was just pure movement to music. A joy to witness. Kikta was powerful and strong as the Rubies tall girl. She dances so big and expands through space. Loved seeing her take command of that role with such confidence. And finally Kowroski and Angle -- what a pair! The communication between them and the vulnerability they showed, especially Kowroski, was so, so moving. I've seen several other companies dance Jewels, and it's always beautiful, but no one does it quite like NYCB.
  7. I was there Wednesday and Thursday nights. Wednesday I was in the rear mezzanine and on Thursday I was 4th row center orchestra. My overall observations from the two nights: NYCB: First a caveat -- I love NYCB, they are my favorite company and I go to see them several times a year. That being said, I felt their performances were not their best. The corps de ballet in both Symphony in C and Concerto Barocco were rock stars -- really together and expressive and energetic. The principals, on the other hand, were mostly not up to their usual standard. Tiler Peck was as musical as ever, and I generally love her, but her ports de bras have become so wild with her hands flapping all over the place. I think she needs to reign it in. Sara Mearns did stumble quite noticeably in Symph in C and seemed very nervous and shaky afterwards. The Angle brothers, as much as I love them when they are partnering ballerinas, looked very out of shape when they were dancing solo and were not able to execute the choreography at a principal dancer level, especially when compared to the outstanding principal men from the other companies. Ashley Bouder seemed to phone it in -- I expected her jumps to be really high and energetic and they were not. In Barocco, Maria Kowroski seemed very brittle throughout and Abi Stafford's incessant smiling was really distracting and out of place. MCB: Serenade is such a beautiful masterpiece, it's always a pleasure to see it, no matter who is dancing it. MCB did a good job with it, the corps was well rehearsed and the principals were up to the task. Simone Messmer was a star, I thought. I found her dancing to be really expressive and her performance to be moving. SFB: I saw SFB do Divertimento No. 15. This is just a really solid company -- their technique is solid, their principals are reliable but there are no stars in the group. Francis Chung was the closest to reaching stellar level -- she executed a section of the ballet that is so very fast and she did it with great aplomb. Royal Ballet: The two dancers, Anna Rose O'Sullivan and Marcelino Sambe', were among my personal favorites over the two nights. Their Tarantella was so confident and so full of fun. Their Tschaikovsky Pas was stupendous! Technically they were superb and they were able to convey a wonderful sense of daring (those fish dives!!!) and fun. Loved them! Marinsky: Tschaikovsky Pas was interesting -- Tereshkina and Kimin were very old-world in their approach. The long, dramatic bows were out of place and seemed a bit weird in context. She was very much the old-world ballerina -- very gracious and elegant -- the likes of which we do not see that often in America anymore. Kimin's jumps were amazing, but I didn't think they were so much better than Sambe's which were just as awe-inspiring in my opinion. I have mixed feelings about Apollo. All four dancers were obviously extremely talented, especially Xander Parrish and Maria Khoreva (whom I think is future star), but the facial expressions and the "acting" were not necessary and seemed really wrong to me. Not only that, but the facial expressions (alternately smiling and serious) did not seemed to be tied to any particular moment or motion, they seemed arbitrary and purposeless. Khoreva was the only dancer who seemed to understand the context of the ballet and her facial expressions were in sync with what she was dancing. Parrish's interpretation of Apollo was extremely boyish and young which I found confusing. But he is a beautiful dancer and I enjoyed watching him. Lastly, never have I seen so many dancers stumble, slip or fall! I think there must have been problems with the floors -- slippery spots perhaps?
  8. Agreed. I find the discussion here about dancers' weight inappropriate and potentially harmful.
  9. I was at Thursday night's all Balanchine/Stravinsky performance and enjoyed it immensely! Megan and Joaquin were so beautiful and touching in Baiser. What a great pair. Joaquin looked in really fine form and I'm sad that it looks like he's retiring soon. He seemed very strong and able, as well as expressive in a way that only comes with a bit of life experience Agon was great as always and Maria and Adrian were super together. She was in total command of her role -- held the panche with Adrian lying on the stage for longer and stronger than I have ever seen it held -- and then came out of it with total control. He brought a bit of a quirky, otherworldly element to the pas that really worked against her strength. His partnering was rock solid. Would love to see them in other ballets together. Duo Concertant was lovely as always. I didn't think that Ashley Bouder and Chase had the best chemistry but their individual lines and style of dancing complimented each other well. Ashley kept her mugging to a minimum which was a relief, just really strong technical dancing. Chase had a fine line and strong technique usually but I felt that last night he didnt't seem in tip-top shape. I don't think it was fatigue, although it could have been, it just looked like he needed to get to class more often and sharpen things up a bit. Tiler Peck was a queen in Symphony in 3 Movements -- just flawless. It looks too easy for her. She and Tyler Stanley were really interesting together and I'd love to see more of them together as well.
  10. I was there last night for Tiler and Chase's performance, second row center. It was an unbelievable experience to be there. I'm still trying to digest it. Not only was Tiler technically near perfect, but her characterization was near perfect as well. She told the story with her dancing and told it beautifully. She created two very distinct characters and was completely believable. More than just putting a "sad" expression on her face, it seemed that every molecule in her body expressed the character she was playing. Her extraordinary technique and musicality made this possible. It's hard for me to put into words. One could definitely feel that the whole theater was pulling for her, and mid-way through the performance I could tell that she could feel the audience's support and it seemed to free her dancing even more. Chase was an ardent partner and I felt his characterization was dramatic and heartfelt. The place went wild at the curtain calls and it seemed that no one wanted the evening to be over. It was really special to be there, a night to remember, for sure.
  11. This may be a bit off-topic, but I remember in the old days (1970s) ABT seemed to do many more mixed programs during a season than they do now. I'd much rather see a season with a few full length ballets and a few weeks of mixed programs. I was really surprised when we moved to NYC to see that ABT does week after week of full-lengths. It becomes so tedious for me as an audience member and I've got to think for the dancers, too, both veterans and up-and-comers. They don't get much opportunity to stretch themselves artistically, unlike the dancers at NYCB. Perhaps ABT just isn't my cup of tea. I tend to get really bored with the old chestnuts, especially if, as it seems this year, several of the key dancers are not up to the technical challenges (Swan Lake fouettes, for example). If ABT is going to put on the full-lengths, they've got to be performed with technical excellence, and they are just not at this point in time. So I welcome the chance to see a more contemporary full-length ballet, like Onegin, which offers a break in the monotony of endless Le Corsaires, Swan Lakes and Don Qs. Just my humble opinion.
  12. I was there last night for Vishneva and Gomes' performance and it was incredible. I'm a recent transplant to New York from California so I've never seen either of them dance before. I am quite familiar with the ballet having seen San Francisco Ballet perform it several times and as I mentioned in an earlier post, it is one of my favorites. It felt to me like every molecule in Vishneva's body portrayed the character. I was in the orchestra section but far enough away that I couldn't see her facial expressions, but it didn't matter because she told the whole story with her body. I thought she portrayed Tatiana as a kind of a serious-minded, nerdy, bookworm who experiences feelings of infatuation for the first time and doesn't know what to do with them. Her portrayal was unflagging -- regardless of what she was doing, dancing or just standing still -- her character came across. It was masterful. Gomes was such an ardent partner and played Onegin with such coldness early on and then such passion at the end. Never before have I seen the final pas de deux performed with such abandon yet technical excellence. Vishneva and Gomes made it look so organic and real -- there was no hesitation before launching into the most difficult sequences, nor could one see the "set up" for what was coming next -- it all just flowed, which is incredibly difficult to pull off. I also thought the rest of the cast was terrific, especially Blaine Hoven. His technique was beautiful and he cuts such a tall handsome figure. He and Isabella Boylston made a great pair.
  13. Onegin is one of my favorite ballets but I've found that a successful performance depends on both the acting and the partnering skills of the principals. The partnering is extremely challenging and if done well it has a fluid quality, with one moment seamlessly flowing into the next and so on. If the male dancer is not a super strong the ballerina cannot dance with the emotional abandon needed to convey the story. I'm looking forward to seeing Vishneva and Gomes -- I think they are definitely up to the task.
  14. I, too, was at this afternoon's performance. I agree with everything written here so far -- Royal was great, Hammoudi was meh, Teuscher, while not perfect, showed great potential, and Fang was completely charming. I would like to add that I was pretty disappointed in the corps de ballet's performance in Acts II and IV. I'll be blunt: I felt they were a mess. I feel bad writing that because I know those dancers work so very, very hard and are the backbone of the company but they were just not together -- they were often out of sync and their lines were often crooked. I love the corps de ballet scenes in Swan Lake, and I've seen them done to perfection before, most recently by San Francisco Ballet a few years ago, so it was a bit of a let down for me. I don't blame the dancers, it seemed pretty obvious to me that they were under-rehearsed, and seemed a bit sleepy to boot.
  15. I agree with nanushka. Maria's (and her partner, Tyler's ) 2nd movement on Sunday was so mesmerizing and beautiful, and judging the reactions of the people around me, I wasn't the only person who felt this. It was one of those live theater experiences. I was sitting quite close, so I don't know if people sitting further back had the same experience. Her 4th movement and finale were a bit rough, but the 2nd movement was so beautiful, I didn't care. And, you know, in a day and age when 12 year olds on youtube can perform 16 pirouettes, I'm definitely looking for something more than technique from the professional artists I go see perform. Just my opinion
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